South China Sea thoughts?

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Updates on developments in Indonesia and the Philippines relative to US actions

1. President Trump has balked at upholding the country’s NATO commitments, demanded massive increases in defense spending from such long-standing allies as Japan and South Korea, and suggested that underpaying allies should be left to fight their own wars with shared adversaries. Trump’s ire has been so relentless and damaging that U.S. allies in Asia and Europe now question American ability to restore itself as a credible security guarantor, even after a different president is in the White House. This is why there is a muted response to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser report that at least seven submarines, but likely more, including all four Guam-based attack submarines, the San Diego-based USS Alexandria and multiple Hawaii-based vessels were part of the effort to show U.S. naval strength in the region while highlighting the Pentagon's efforts to be flexible and unpredictable.

2 The US Navy only advertises the presence of its submarines to make a point to an adversary – but in this case, it could also be to highlight how the U.S. has remained flexible while dealing with the pandemic. Submarines have been seen as an important part of maintaining a balance of power in the Western Pacific region including the East and South China Seas, and the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) force remains central to the country's nuclear arsenal.

3. Three of the U.S. 7th Fleet's submarines took part in an advanced warfighting training exercise in the Philippines Sea, and that involved conducting maritime security operations, surface and subsurface combat scenarios.

4. By repeatedly challenging Beijing’s claims, Indonesia is pursuing a strategy of “persistent objection” and preserving its right, under international law, not to be bound by the concocted norms that China appears to be pushing. Further, under UNCLOS 1982, Indonesia does not have overlapping claims with China, so it is not necessary to hold any dialogue on maritime boundary delimitation. Going forward, Indonesia will say this over and over again.

5. Locsin wrote on social media that the suspension was made upon Duterte's "instruction". "It has been received by Washington and well at that," he added.

"The suspension shall start on even date and shall continue for six months, which period is extendible by the Philippines for another six months," after which the countdown to termination "shall resume", read a June 1 letter by Locsis to the embassy of the US in Manila.​

6. In a statement, the US embassy said it welcomed the Philippine government's decision.

7. I would recommend also having a look at "From ‘Boots’ to ‘Brogues’: The Rise of Defence Diplomacy in Southeast Asia, Bhubhindar Singh & See Seng Tan, RSIS Monograph No. 21, 2011". The establishment of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in 2006, a key element of the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) vision put forth in the ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) of 2003, is an extraordinary achievement for Southeast Asia. An element of defence diplomacy in Southeast Asia is its commitment to engaging the outside region. The creation of the ADMM+8— comprising the 10 ASEAN countries and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the United States—in 2010 is a salient mark of the importance which the ASEAN countries assign to engaging the external powers.

8. ADMM and ADMM Plus, despite its limitations, enable each ASEAN defence minister to regularly engage with their plus 8 counterparts in defence matters, including their crucial Plus 8 relationships with the American, the Australian, the Indian, the Japanese, the Korean and the Chinese, defence ministers.
For instance, India is seeking reciprocal military logistics pacts with like-minded countries, like Japan, to extend its strategic and naval operational reach, with an eye firmly on China’s expansionist behavior in the Indo-Pacific. India has already entered into mutual logistics support arrangement (MLSA) with Australia, US, France, South Korea and Singapore. These regular interactions and confidence building measures enable the 18 ADMM Plus parties to cooperate by entering into MLSAs or to limit and manage disputes, where needed.
 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Interesting development...

The Philippines moves to bolster maritime defenses on Thitu Island in the South China Sea, where Beijing has built artificial islands with military fortifications.

Sadly the article is only readable for subscribers.

More information and a picture of the island can be found here.
 
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Ananda

Well-Known Member

The article on SMH on Indonesia challenge in dealing with Chinese Incursion to Natuna EEZ waters.
This kind of condition also already several times in local media. I put article from SMH to reduce level of Nationalistics point of view. Not that SMH is 100% non bias, but at least more neutral perspective.

One thing that in many Local media forgot, that to counter Chinese fishing fleet in Natuna's EEZ is not just throwing more local fishing fleets there, but also has to build fishing business processing plant there.

Indonesian fishing industry is more attracted to work in Eastern part of Indonesia (for companies that have large fishing ships) due to access for cannery facilities in Bali, Makasar and Eastern part of Indonesia.
Building that in Natuna has to make sense for business point of view. With Natuna position far from population center or international transport facilities.

While Chinese fishing fleet, I can be quite certain operating under 'financial support' from their Government. The only countries that actually their fishing fleet can operate on business efficiency on SCS are Vietnam, Philippines, and some extent Malaysia (where the population center close to SCS)
For that, it's the challenge that facing ASEAN/SEA nation's on exploring SCS, relative to China. China willing and can afford to financially support their business on doing commercial activities in SCS. While that abilities limited to SEA nations.

Some time I think many assessment on China's exploitation of SCS center around the Military or Security presence. Actually the commercial presence can be more important in long term claimant purpose than Military ones.
Justification on Military presence will not be able to sustain all time, if not being followed by efficient and profitable commercial activities.

This seems what China aimed, they are pouring money for their commercial activities, that so far can't be followed by other SEA claimant.

For Indonesia, making Natuna as profitable commercial center is going to be big challenge. Indonesia already shown willingness to support highten Military and Security presence, however if no sustainable commercial business in the Islands, then there's limit for Indonesian presence in Natuna's EEZ for long term.

China just like the article says have the time in their side now. Time to build Commercial presence, where the SEA relative lacks resources on building it on that level. When China can control commercial activities, the other SEA claimants have no choice to work with them, under Chinese term, in order to still get benefits from SCS commercial activities.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
I am at a bit of a loss to see why China is playing this game with Indonesia. They have very little to gain by ramping it up given the minor interaction between the nine dash line and Indonesia, and I would have thought they would be trying to make a friend of by far the biggest country (in population term) in the region - pick your fights, in other words.

It is one of the more significant issues, at least in my mind, which serves to debunk China’s claims not to be seeking a regional hegemony. They can make arguments, albeit not very good ones, for the disputes they are having with the other nations involved but none at all for a dispute with Indonesia- the “traditional fishing” claim may or may not be accurate but is not a sufficient justification for what they are doing.

So, not bright on China’s part, at least in my view.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I am at a bit of a loss to see why China is playing this game with Indonesia. They have very little to gain by ramping it up given the minor interaction between the nine dash line and Indonesia, and I would have thought they would be trying to make a friend of by far the biggest country (in population term) in the region - pick your fights, in other words.

It is one of the more significant issues, at least in my mind, which serves to debunk China’s claims not to be seeking a regional hegemony. They can make arguments, albeit not very good ones, for the disputes they are having with the other nations involved but none at all for a dispute with Indonesia- the “traditional fishing” claim may or may not be accurate but is not a sufficient justification for what they are doing.

So, not bright on China’s part, at least in my view.
It's the same game that they are playing with all the other nations. There is no legal justification for the so called nine dash line, as the successful 2016 Philippines case before the International Arbitration Tribunal proved.

It is also believed that Vietnam has a case prepared for legal action against the PRC under provisions of UNCLOS. Whether or not Vietnam actually takes the next step and lodges the case is another story, but if it does the PRC will not be happy, to say the least.

 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
am at a bit of a loss to see why China is playing this game with Indonesia. They have very little to gain by ramping it up given the minor interaction between the nine dash line and Indonesia, and I would have thought they would be trying to make a friend of by far the biggest country (in population term) in the region - pick your fights, in other words.
They have no choice but to create Incursion in all area of they so called nine dash line with all SEA nation's neighbours. If they give one exemption to say with Indonesia, then it will open question on their domestic audiences on how they are going to policing all the nine dash line.

On Indonesian side, the Foreign Ministry already stated officially that Indonesia will not negotiate any border issue with China in Natuna's EEZ, and only settled border negotiations with Vietnam and Malaysia on that area.
This implied that if Indonesia agree to talk with China on that area, means Indonesia agree with China claim of 'nine dash line' which Internationally can't be justified as claimant.

Malaysia and Vietnam have Internationally recognize border in the Area, thus settlement on EEZ boundaries between Indonesia and both countries are expected under International law. While with China is not.
That's what China wants, they want each SEA nation's in SCS boundaries to settle with them bilaterally. That way, they can tell International jurisdiction agency that all neighbors already ratified China claims.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunai, Philippines and Indonesia should never done that. Entering bilateral agreement with China in SCS only rectified China claim on nine dash line.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The US has declared the PRC claims in the SCS as unlawful and the 2016 Arbitration Tribunal case states that the PRC claims are illegal under the UNCLOS which the PRC is a signatory too. This declaration by the US should hopefully give support to the ASEAN nations being bullied by the PRC.

Also the US has warned that electing the PRC to the UNCLOS panel is the same as hiring an arsonist to run a fire department or an alcoholic to run a brewery. It would not be in the best interests of UNCLOS for the PRC to be on that panel when they blatantly break the laws of the sea.

 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 1 of 2: Updates on unilateral and multilateral exercises in SCS

1. Indonesia stages a five-day naval exercise that featured warfare simulation on a beach on Singkep, an island in the Riau Islands province at the edge of the South China Sea (SCS). While some see it as an unilateral show of determination to assert Indonesian sovereignty over the country’s territory, I see this as a joke. Without external support, Indonesians lack naval credibility for deterrence purposes, relative to the PLA(N) — this is part of a series of ineffective naval drills by the defecto leader of ASEAN, that began on 18 Jul. See Radio Free Asia: Indonesian Navy Conducts Major Exercise Amid South China Sea Tensions

2. On 20 Jul 2020, Brunei said that it maintains its two-step approach in addressing the South China Sea. One, specific issues should be addressed bilaterally by the countries directly concerned through peaceful dialogue and consultations. Two, Brunei Darussalam emphasises that such negotiations on the South China Sea should be resolved in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the rules and principles of international law. Likewise, Malaysia has called for restraint from military posturing in contested waters, which top diplomat Hishammuddin Hussein said could “end up in war”. He has a point. If war or conflict prevails in one of the world’s busiest maritime trade corridors, then swaths of economic activity get thrown out the window. And everyone loses when that happens.

3. ASEAN members are unwilling to take a side — in the latest round of Sino-American dispute that started in trade wars, shifted to CORVID-19 blaming and now to the South China Sea (SCS). Some observers will frame the US policy shift in the SCS as a politically motivated step to bolster President Donald Trump’s claims to be tough on China. Others see it as a welcome return to a region that was left wanting for an answer to Beijing’s coercive negotiation tactics. None of these analyses account for the grim reality faced by all ASEAN countries: the struggle to revive an economy arrested by the onset of a dangerous health crisis. As a result, even non-claimants in the dispute have been pulled into the mess.

4. Australia joined the U.S. in rejecting China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and 5 Australian warships on a training exercise with the American and Japanese navies encountered the PLA(N), who sought to routinely monitor this multilateral exercise by the 3 of most capable navies in Asia.

5. In a show of support to Vietnam, on 23 Jul 2020, the US signed an MOU with Vietnam in an attempt to help prevent what it described as “illegal intimidation” of Vietnamese fishing vessels, according to a statement released by the US Embassy in Hanoi. More importantly, on 13 July 2020, the US State Department clarified that “the United States rejects any PRC claim to waters beyond a 12-nautical mile territorial sea derived from islands it claims in the Spratly Islands.” This more closely aligns U.S. policy with a July 2016 decision by an arbitral tribunal that there was “no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.” Specifically, U.S. policy now matches the tribunal’s finding that “none of the Spratly Islands is capable of generating extended maritime zones” and that “the Spratly Islands cannot generate maritime zones collectively as a unit.” As a result, China has no legal basis to claim most of the South China Sea, nor to challenge fishing or oil and gas exploitation by other claimants within their rightful exclusive economic zones.

6. Due to the ineffective response at ASEAN level, Vietnam has to stand alone and agree to pay US$1 billion to two international oil companies after Beijing forced Hanoi to stop their offshore gas developments. The Vietnamese decision to back down in its confrontation with China and cancel the two deals caused significant financial and reputational damage. Vietnam has to rethink its strategy for oil and gas activities in these blocks to avoid similar incidents in the future.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 2 of 2: Diplomatic efforts relating to SCS

7. On the plus side, ASEAN countries are increasing willing to call out China’s aggression and disregard for international law. Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr marked the fourth anniversary of the award on 12 July by emphasising the unlawfulness of certain Chinese activities, and the need for compliance.

8. The Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy government of Myanmar urged all parties to exercise restraint with regard to activities that could increase tension and to refrain from threats or use of force. “Although Myanmar is not a claimant state, we attach great importance to developments in the South China Sea. We have been consistent in calling for and supporting all endeavors to promote a peaceful resolution of disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea,” said the National League for Democracy.

9. Australia’s coordinated Note Verbale explaining the country’s legal stance — explicitly repudiating China’s excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea, upholding UNCLOS and reaffirming the 2016 tribunal Award.
 
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Ananda

Well-Known Member
Without external support, Indonesians lack naval credibility for deterrence purposes, relative to the PLA(N) — this is part of a series of ineffective naval drills by the defecto leader of ASEAN,
Under current political climate in Indonesia where some factions in ruling parties and business circles that supports them already being 'influence' by China business initiatives, having large scale multi national (say with Australia and Singapore) directly in front of SCS door step will be considered too provacatives.
After all the 'mantra' of Indonesian International Diplomatic of 'bebas aktif' or non attach but active still hold dear by many so called 'nationalist' even their opposition in islamist Politicall circle. Basically many in Indonesian Politicall circle still want to 'sitting on the fences'.
This stance is not only Indonesia alone within Asean, but as you have posted reflect many in Asean that still not want or 'dare' in present condition to openly stand politically on one side.

However TNI knows very well they can't compete by them selves with PLA. Even Indonesia used half of Government budget this decade on to Defense they still will not able to compete with PLA alone.

Thus for me, what Indonesia really going to stand in the future will be shown on 'subtle' changes in the policies. Few that I can think of:

  • Defense procurement; during first term of Jokowi's administration or even in SBY's last term administration some of Chinese weapons and systems procurement begin to be seen. However lately those Chinese contract in defense are begin to phase out in the favour of mostly Euro, US and South Korea origin. The last Chinese contract that come into media was Chinese MALE UAV that many think is part of Indonesian trial on MALE UAV complement domestic build MALE UAV.
  • At the same time Indonesia also talking with Ukraine (the strategic cooperation with Ukraine already put into law by Parliament) for potential Aero and missile engines and sensors tech, and with Turkey for MALE UAV.
  • This shown that eventough defense procurement will continue Euro/Western centricity, but Indonesia will try to gain independent development.
  • However TNI will try to find something that will not be related to Chinese tech, shown that TNI knows that potential opponent in future is increasingly China.
  • Indonesia and Australia already put and changing instructors on each miltary academy. This shown where TNI sees potential military collaboration are.

  • On 5G development. This being slow down a bit as before Huawei and it's local related parties are pushing hard for Huawei system. Right now the Telecommunication Ministry saying that 5G will come on fruition within a year or two in Indonesia. Talking on Investment obstacles and Frequency bands Management, but also emphasis that 5G decision also related to Geopolitical standings.
  • Clearly what come out as what will be Indonesia 5G system base tech, will shown where Indonesia standing on International Politics. The tendencies now looking with South Korean tech eventough still open for China tech shown subtle movement on where Indonesia geopolitical position also.

  • The High Speed Train, China clearly talking that High Speed Train project in Indonesia will be part of their strategic road and belt initiatives. However the progress is slow even slowing down. The talk on obstacles on land procurement for the project, in my mind somewhat being bit 'fishy'. This first phase project between Jakarta and Bandung (of only 170+KM) was competition between Japan and China. Japan lose out, but JICA got initial project studies of upgrade existing train line between Jkt to Surabaya to make it Medium Speed line, which consider as crown jewel route on Indonesia railway system.
  • Now, Jokowi's administration suddenly stated that Jakarta to Surabaya medium speed line that being work out by Japan could be merge with High Speed line between Jakarta to Bandung that being work out by China.
  • Japan off course confuses, since the specs they prepared for Medium Speed line (150+kmh) will be different with High Speed line (200+kmh). Are Jokowi's administration want to build pararel line on Jakarta to Surabaya of Medium Speed and High Speed, or they want to merge the line and becoming high speed ?
  • For me this shown tug of war on Indonesian political civilian and business circle between those that already under influence of China business interest and those that don't want to give or depend and suspicious with China business projects.

This some subtle movement for me shown that TNI already prepared for potential confrontation with China, thus being prepared to make move to counter China.
However the problem lies in Civilian political circle. Remember the current ruling party is always think they are the natural inheritor from Soekarno's political standing. Soekarno's always see himself as revolutionary and China is logical interest 'friend'.

This tug of war will continue, however China behavior in SCS and their intrusion into Natuna's EEZ make China 'friend' in civilian political and business circles on increasingly difficult position.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
@Ananda, thanks for the detailed reply and I acknowledge, I may have been a bit harsh on the leader of ASEAN.

Here is a link to an article with more details on the Australian position.

Thankfully, the American diplomats who still can think for themselves — like the American Ambassador to Korea. Sadly, Reuters reported that Harris has privately told allies that he plans to leave his post by the end of November even if President Trump is reelected to a second term.

Harris has also faced criticism from South Koreans critical of the U.S.-South Korea relationship, the news service reports, including comments about his Japanese-American ancestry. "But no one likes to deal with people who are ungrateful for your hard work, and throwing racist slurs isn't the right way to treat an ally who has such deep ties and fondness for your country," a source added.
 
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Ananda

Well-Known Member
Yeah..China put themselves in the corner with their attitude in SCS. They simply push their regional neighbors which some of them actually has favourable standing toward China. Even Philippines that used to shown 'submisive' standing under current administration, begin to take more adversarial possition in SCS.

On the other hand, 'his Majesty's in white House also creating more and more dissatisfaction with US long term allies both in Europe and Asia.

Sometimes I think this's why some nations has difficulty on taking side on this US - China dispute. Both of them have tendencies to piss their own friends and allies.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yeah..China put themselves in the corner...

Sometimes I think this's why some nations has difficulty on taking side on this US - China dispute. Both of them have tendencies to piss their own friends and allies.
Both US and China are their own worse enemy. Let me share 9 more points:

1. With CORVID-19, in the later part of 2020, Singapore will want to start to open travel bubbles in phases, with group 1 countries, like, Australia, Brunei, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mynmar, NZ, Taiwan, and Vietnam — if the situation allows.

2. Singapore needs to trade and we need to do more business with China because increasing trade with the US is not viable till 2022 at the earliest (as the American CORVID-19 response is a sham). It is likely Europeans will get their house in order faster than the US.

3. For Singapore, trade is strategy. Security relationships is second to keeping our people fed. And travel bubbles are important grease to the economic engine that is core to our trade is strategy.

4. Unfortunately, we cannot open our borders fast in group 2 countries, with economies that are important to us, like US, UK, Europe, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and India because the infection rate in all these areas and countries are not under control.
  • But of group 2 countries, the priority for a travel bubble is Indonesia and India.
  • Travel from group 2 areas with high infection rates must be controlled via 100% testing and local quarantine. And chartered flights from India with 100% testing has occurred - in relation to crew swap for ships at the end of their sail contract.
5. For 95% of Singaporeans, we don’t care about who will ‘win’ or ‘lose’ in the South China Sea (SCS) as long as trade by sea is not disrupted. And it is more than likely the prior general sympathy for the Philippines or Malaysia as underdogs, in SCS is gone. Singaporeans will want to make sure that more jobs are kept for our countrymen — and want to close the floodgate to Malaysians and Pinoys, flooding the job market here and their consistent refusal to act with common sense during a public heath crisis. Not sure if we as a small country should pay a price to help someone who does not want to help themselves — where Duterte stupidly tried to cancel the VFA. And Malaysia tried to appease China.

6. KL policy choices have hurt themselves and Singapore — there will be payback, one day, for their choices — in a us versus them scenario. Further, I am really not pleased to say Singapore has to activate our alternate food supply ‘war plans’ thanks to uncertainty caused by KL during this period. As an example, Singapore now imports eggs from Australia, Japan, Korea and so on to replace prior Malaysian egg supply. The first batch to replace Malaysian supply was 300,00 eggs flown in by air.

7. Trump’s decision to invoke the Defense Production Act in relation to 3M Masks made in Singapore that were being supplied to hospitals in this region ensured that we in Asia, know we are not a priority at war. When the need is great, the Trump Administration will use American laws to engage in theft of masks.
  • At a time of war, we will be put in a situation of not allowing American laws to apply to factories in Singapore? That being the case, the value of an American security relationship has some what depreciated.
  • Likewise allies like Australia and Japan can’t trust Trump — where the ally is a problem to be managed. What more a non-aligned nation — which is why I support Indonesia’s proposed Typhoon purchase (as long as they are upgraded).
  • Why is Trump stealing masks from hospitals in Asia when Battelle Memorial Institute was granted an EUA for a decontaminating system to make N95 respirators reusable? It was initially limited to 10,000 units per day per machine, even though Battelle claimed each machine could decontaminate up to 80,000 masks per day.
What if, for some completely unforeseeable reason, the RSAF decided that it didn't like the F-35 platform?
...

I'm not saying I expect them to find anything wrong with the F-35B or to decide not to purchase more of them. I'm just wondering if there really is a choice of platforms.
8. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Trump’s ire has been so relentless and damaging that U.S. allies and partners in Asia and Europe now question American ability to restore itself as a credible security guarantor, even after a different president is in the White House. This has triggered Singaporeans to think about alternative fighter suppliers other than the US in the RSAF thread. Pompeo’s articulation of the US stance on the SCS is seen by me as Trump is playing his stupid screw China game this week (for his domestic audience) and I certainly do not want to be part of his stupid game — that hurts the Americans as much as the Chinese. There are areas that China and the US seek to cooperate instead America’s top diplomat decided to threaten a country that holds US$1 trillion of American debt and is the prime supplier of many of its consumer and intermediate technology goods, including medical supplies in a time of a Corvid-19 pandemic, with record deaths in the US.
Who knows which American ally he will try to screw next week? If Trump is an ally, who can qualify as an enemy?

9. Until the Americans decide to change out Trump, trust for them should be set at zero. Americans are no longer credible by default. Rather, they must prove themselves before trust is given again. At this stage, I don’t believe in putting value to lukewarm American assurances on their intent in the SCS. This discussion is not about politics. Rather, it reflects a shift in geo-political weight that countries would accord to the Americans going forward.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The one issue I have with the upcoming US election is that if Biden wins everyone thinks that things will go back to to pre-Trump settings. What if they don't? There's a school of thought that believes that the US was slowly withdrawing from foreign commitments when Obama was POTUS so if Biden wins the election in November this trend may continue. Everyone appears to think that Trump will get a sound hiding in November, but what happens if he wins? Everybody wrote him off in 2016 and look what happened. The fat lady ain't sung yet and it's what, 100 days or so until voting day, and a lot can happen between now and then. Maybe a regional defence bloc will have to be formed at some stage.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Continued from post #834 above

10. Please indulge me with my last off-topic reply to clarify the context on why I think there is a geopolitical shift in weight accorded to US statements on SCS going forward. The US and China remain as the key actors everyone watches in the SCS. The difference is that there is no longer any expectation that the Americans can provide the leadship to form a united bloc against Chinese coercion without shooting their own American toes. In fact, many Asians see this as choosing between two coercive powers.
The one issue I have with the upcoming US election is that if Biden wins everyone thinks that things will go back to to pre-Trump settings. What if they don't?
11. After the emergence of the Tea Party, and the need to appeal to the ‘America First’ political base by the GOP ensures that metaphorical ugly American face is a chronic feature of GOP politics — from a geo-political perspective, the mainstreaming of fringe agenda into the American political discourse.
There's a school of thought that believes that the US was slowly withdrawing from foreign commitments when Obama was POTUS so if Biden wins the election in November this trend may continue.
12. I don’t disagree. The political landscape in America has changed. Part of the fake news era is a vacuum of leadership addressing the issue of disinformation. Obama’s days are gone.
Everyone appears to think that Trump will get a sound hiding in November, but what happens if he wins? Everybody wrote him off in 2016 and look what happened. The fat lady ain't sung yet and it's what, 100 days or so until voting day, and a lot can happen between now and then.
13. America’s diplomatic efforts is irrelevant now (see: How Trump Is Ending the American Era) and if Trump is re-elected, the growth of contempt for the GOP will snowball. In fact, it is the American military that is serving as de facto American diplomats in Asia.

(i) As an instrument of American statecraft, the US Navy, US Marines, US Air Force and US Army missions in the Indo-Pacific region include military diplomacy, combined training exercises, international military exchange programs, security force assistance programs, mentoring-training and stability activities up to, and including, the possibility of engaging in simultaneous combat missions. Their work is not to be underestimated.​
(ii) ADM John C. Aquilino Commander of US Pacific Fleet was Singapore from 24 to 26 Oct 2019 for his introductory visit, called on the Singapore’s defence minister and CDF.​
(iii) On 11 July 2020, the Chief of Staff of the US Army, GEN James C. McConville also called on Permanent Secretary (Defence) Mr Chan Heng Kee in Singapore.​

14. America First has ensured that it is a world order of America alone. Iran’s recent disruption of trade in the Persian Gulf showed what happens when no one wants to commit forces or spill the blood of their troops to support a Trump plan. WHO in their right mind would support a Gulf War 3.0 with Trump in power?
Maybe a regional defence bloc will have to be formed at some stage.
15. I suspect not. But I am a pessimist and a little optimism on SCS developments may not be too bad. The other good news is RIMPAC 2020 is still on.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The one issue I have with the upcoming US election is that if Biden wins everyone thinks that things will go back to to pre-Trump settings. What if they don't? There's a school of thought that believes that the US was slowly withdrawing from foreign commitments when Obama was POTUS so if Biden wins the election in November this trend may continue. Everyone appears to think that Trump will get a sound hiding in November, but what happens if he wins? Everybody wrote him off in 2016 and look what happened. The fat lady ain't sung yet and it's what, 100 days or so until voting day, and a lot can happen between now and then. Maybe a regional defence bloc will have to be formed at some stage.
I don’t think Biden is going to be a back to the good old days result either. The left wing factions in his party will savage defence if they win both the House and Senate. The biggest risk now is he has restricted his VP options in order to be “PC”. Given his age, a bad choice might be Trump’s only hope for re-election. I fear Biden will make a bad choice, just my opinion.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
US constituents more or more getting bad choices of either too much left in Democrats and too much right in Republican. Seems middle path is getting harder in US Politics.

FDR and JFK can be categories as Moderate Republican under present condition. Seems Divergent of Democrats to the left and Republican to the right begin more clear since Carter and Reagan times. LBJ and Nixon political stands especially on Global politics not differ much, in my opinion.

No wonder more and more American become uninterested toward their elections, or becoming extreme left or extreme right anti establishment.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Particularly since this is the SCS discussion thread, can we please keep US politics and the upcoming US elections out of it?

I get that the US POTUS and admin set US national policy which in turn can have a profound impact on the situation in the SCS and adjacent countries. However, aside from non-defence related political discussion being essential verboten here on DT (and with good reason), such discussions could attract posters, both 'real' people as well as bots/botnets, who are interested in posting about US socio-political issues. Particularly since some of the venues like Yahoo and some social media platforms have started to restrict or in some cases completely shutdown comments sections. I am certain if there was a spike in new DT members just posting about what is going on with US politics, it would make certain grumpy US moderators even more grumpy.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
@Todjaeger, thanks for the reminder. We will stop any further discussion on the American POTUS and return to the regular discussion on SCS matters.
 
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